Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lazy Sunday

No, not that Lazy Sunday.

Today was a perfectly lazy day. We came home last night so we could have a day to recombobulate before diving into the week, and I have to say that it was a great idea. We loved spending the week with my family, but it's nice to spend some time just the three of us, too.

Brian started the day off by getting up ahead of me and taking care of Squiggles. Then I got a daddy-baby bomb (I was already awake and expecting it, but still fun), and a chance to snuggle in bed with Squiggles and watch cartoons while Brian made breakfast. We drank coffee while Squiggles played; and while he napped, we put up a few Christmas decorations.

We put up a tree (the pre-decorated slim tree we put on the second story ledge in the entryway at our old house), my Willow Tree nativity, a creche, our advent tree (the star plays Jingle Bells, and we do a little dance to it every day), and one of those sound and motion deals from Hallmark - you know, where you press a button and the thing sings and dances? We have one from a few years back with a snowman and two penguins that dance and jingle.

I apologize for the horrible lighting there - I didn't think our family room was that dim. Plus, it was taken with our digital camera as opposed to our camcorder. I still haven't figured out how to take video off our camcorder.

Anyway, we had a wonderful day, and it feels slightly more Christmas-y here now than it did before. I'll get the Christmas plates down in the next day or two, too, so that might help some more. It's very hard getting my mind around the idea that Christmas is in less than a month and I'm still wearing short sleeves and light jackets.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of family, fellowship and food. We got to watch the parade (Squiggles only paid attention off and on, but he loved the Sesame Street float), eat a yummy dinner, and spend time with family that we haven't seen in a while.

It hit me during dinner that just a year ago, our little Squiggles hadn't even started eating solid food; this year he had a little bit of everything on his plate and ate most of it!

He played really well with his cousins this year, too. Last year, his cousin tried to play with him, but I think was disappointed with a baby that just drooled and cooed and rolled around. This year they had a blast playing with Legos, running around the house, and even doing push-ups! I so wish I had a picture of them, but I still haven't gotten the camera fixed. Grrr.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ok dada.

We've found a new slam-dunk toy, and we found it in the most random way.

This is a basic bead maze. We've seen them at the doctor's office before, and although Squiggles seemed to enjoy them, he never was all that enthralled with them.

Fast forward to last night. We went to a great little barbecue place near The Reservation (yes, we actually left The Reservation). We only had to wait a few minutes for a table, but we saw a couple of these bead mazes in the waiting area so we grabbed one and let Squiggles play with it. He loved it! We took it to the table with us so he had something to do while we ordered and waited for our food, and it kept him entertained the entire time. He cried when it was time to eat and we had to take it away, and he cried again when it was time to leave and we had to take it away a second time.

We explained to him that the toy wasn't ours; that it belonged to the nice people at the restaurant and we needed to leave it there so someone else could play with it. More crying. Then Brian said, "We'll go out tomorrow and look for one for you, okay buddy?"

"Ok dada." Plain as day.

Our jaws hit the floor.

We went out the next day and bought him one.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

NBA, Burritos and Driving

Sounds like a bad combination, doesn't it?

Friday was more laziness...drinking coffee and reading. Brian and I did go to a very nice restaurant at the Hilton on the beach and sat at the bar. We shared an appetizer and had a few drinks and just chatted. It was wonderful, as was the drink I had. I don't remember what it was called, but it was vodka muddled with orange, lime and lemon wedges. Yum!

We slept in on Saturday and then headed down to visit Brian's brother. We saw the new James Bond movie, ate burritos at Qdoba, and then took in our first NBA game (only NFL to cross off the list of major sporting events!). The movie was all right, but the plot was almost too predictable - I like a little twist in my spy movies. The thing that bothered me is that it seemed like there was a large birthday party of 10-year olds at the movie. I'm not sure I'd take Squiggles to see a movie like that at that age, but I know I can be a bit of a fuddy-duddy sometimes. However, Brian agreed with me, saying something along the lines of, "We're going to raise our son better than that." Thank goodness. At what age would you think it's acceptable to take a child to see an action movie like James Bond?

The rest of the weekend was fun but uneventful: football, video games, and a fantastic cheese steak. We've arrived at The Reservation, reunited with our Squiggles, who greeted us with a hearty "DADA!". Everyone he recognizes is "dada", even me, except when he's upset - then he finds the ability to wail "maaMAAAAA!". Funny little guy. I think he's gotten taller.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Lovely Day

It's almost 6pm, and instead of worrying about getting dinner on the table and trying to snatch away the loaf of bread that Squiggles is taunting the dogs with ('cause he steals it every time I open the refrigerator) AND trying to pick up the house before Brian gets home, I am sitting in a hotel room, watching Friends and surfing the web. I'm not even concerned about dinner (we're going out for Italian). Squiggles is having fun on The Reservation. This is a vacation, people!

And the whole day has been just as relaxing. I did have to ferry Brian to the school this morning; otherwise I would have been hotel-bound all day. I came back to the hotel, got a cup of coffee, and sat in bed doing the USA Today puzzles (Have you seen the Txtpert one? It's pretty cool!) and watching The Today Show. I worked out. I took my time getting ready. I had a leisurely lunch out. I drove around and enjoyed the beautiful weather (mid to upper 60's) and beautiful views of the beach and riverfront. I sat outside with an afternoon cup of coffee and read for over an hour. Now I'm just hanging out until Brian's done working.

This is really a nice break. It took me a long time to get to the point where I could admit that I needed a break from being a mom. I'm sure it stemmed from the fact that I felt guilty about having to work and couldn't be at home with Squiggles like I wanted. I thought that, since I had such little time with him, I shouldn't want to NOT spend time with him. Now I know I need a break every now and then so that I can be a better, calmer, less-stressed mom.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fill 'er up!

Vacation time! Squiggles is on The Reservation with my folks right now while I'm with Brian on a business trip. As we left, I noticed how much gas prices have dropped. I remember that, over the summer, it was not uncommon to see gas near $3/gallon or more. Today? $1.87 per gallon! Can you believe it? I thought it would be a long time before I saw gas under $2/gal, let alone under $1.90. I guess it's a sign of the economy slide that we're in right now, unfortunately.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baking Bonanza

I've had the baking bug the last couple of days. Maybe it's because I won't be able to bake Christmas cookies here like I do every year, but I wanted to bake some lovely things for Thanksgiving at The Reservation next week. So yesterday I made the dough for my Grandma's famous feather bed rolls; and today I made her pumpkin roll and some yummy ginger pumpkin pomegranate muffins. The muffins come from a wonderful recipe in The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook. The original recipe is for blueberry-yogurt muffins, but I improvised a little:

Yield: 1 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (8 oz) carton vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine orange juice, oil, vanilla, yogurt, and egg; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moist. Gently fold in blueberries.
  3. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle 1 tbsp sugar evenly over muffins. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pans immediately, and place muffins on a wire rack.
I have had wonderful success with this recipe using blueberries, except I usually use blueberry yogurt instead of vanilla because I'm more likely to have that on hand. Also, I find that tossing the berries in a tablespoon or two of flour before mixing them into the batter helps them to keep their shape and prevents them from sinking in the batter while the muffins bake.

Today, I substituted canned pumpkin (left over from my pumpkin roll) for the yogurt, pomegranate arils for the blueberries, and added 1/2 tsp of ginger. I think they turned out very well, and it cements this as one of my favorite recipes.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Brian's grandma - Squiggles's great-grandma - was down here last month visiting a friend, so of course we made time to visit with her, too. Brian's brother and his girlfriend came up and we all visited with Grandma at our house and then took her out to dinner. I was so happy I could show her our home down here and that she and Squiggles could spend some time together.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shootin' hoops

Last night, we took Squiggles to his very first college basketball game. Brian scored some free tickets through work, so we decided that it would be fun to go and we wouldn't have to worry about leaving early if we needed to.

And guess what? It WAS fun. Lots of fun! Until the end when Squiggles got hungry and tired of sitting still. So we didn't leave on the most positive note, but we still had fun.

It's actually amazing to experience some things through his eyes. For example, our tickets were general admission, same as most students, so we ended up just a few rows up from some college hoops fanboys. You know, the guys who go shirtless and paint their chests? Anyway, normally I would ignore them or begrudge their taunting, but not Squiggles! No sir, he was fascinated by these guys. When they cheered, he waved his arms and squealed. He clapped when anyone in the stands clapped (for either team!), and he desperately wanted to get down on that court and play with the ball. He was just so captivated and excited by all that was going on around him, Brian and I couldn't help but be more excited about everything, too.

It really is great to see things through a child's eyes.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'll tumble for ya

For some time now, Squiggles has been standing in this funny downward dog pose, with his head on the ground and his butt up in the air. We always laughed and asked him if he was going to do a somersault. Yesterday he did.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Toy Safety

With Thanksgiving next week, I am reminded that we are hurtling toward December 25 (which seems impossible!). I know there is a lot of concern about toy safety these days, so I thought I'd pass along a site that I visit quite frequently. is a project of the Ecology Center, a nonprofit based out of Michigan. The site tests all kinds of toys, gear, and mealtime necessities (bibs, plates, etc.) for different chemicals like lead and chlorine, then posts the results on their site; picking up the ball that our government agencies have dropped. You can search their database by toy type or brand, keep a personal list of toys, and vote on which toys they should test next.

They will be posting over a hundred new results on Dec 3, so this is a good time to surf over there and familiarize yourself with the site. I ended up throwing out a few of Squiggles's toys based on their findings, and I have an idea of what to look for when shopping for new toys - and putting together a Christmas wish list.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's November, people!

A little playmate we encountered at the park back in early October

As I type this, I am wearing shorts and a tank top and we have the fans running on high. It's very humid here, and the temps were in the low 80's today, with more of the same on tap for tomorrow. Normally, I would kick on the AC, but there is something very, very wrong about doing that in MID-NOVEMBER!

Adapting to the weather here in Florida has been a bit strange for me. On the one hand, it was an easy transition; we moved during warm weather, so there wasn't a major temp change to acclimate to. On the other hand, sometimes it hits me that Thanksgiving is next week and I'm still dressing Squiggles in shorts. Now, to be fair, we have had a few weeks of mild weather that called for pants, and even a jacket in the morning. Even the warm weather we're experiencing now is only temporary; by Sunday, we'll only see highs in the mid- to upper 60's. Still, I've been used to Ohio weather all of my life, and we would be preparing for the first snowfalls right about now. I haven't decided if I miss it or not.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Picnic in the Park

It was such a gorgeous, sunny, mild morning here that I decided to take Squiggles out for a picnic in the park. My original plan was to take him to a wonderful park we've heard about which is only about 10 minutes away from us, but I was unaware of the $3 entry fee and didn't have the cash. So we just headed to our favorite free park and had a great time playing and enjoying our PB&J sandwiches. So much so that I had to carry Squiggles away when it was time to go home and take a nap! I'm glad we left when we did, though; our sunny morning had turned cloudy by the time we got to the park, and by the time we left it was starting to rain. Oh well, better than the snow forecasted back in Ohio!

Funny story: when I first took Squiggles to the park when we first moved here, I thought it was odd that there were no other children at the playground I found. It was a nice little playground, and Squiggles was perfectly content playing by himself, but I couldn't help but think that there should have been at least a couple of other kids there.

He loved playing peek-a-boo in the tunnell...

...but it took him a while to work up the courage to go down the slide. Whee!

Fast forward to our second visit, where I spied a large, shade covered play area tucked in toward the back of the park. Aha! Here there were lots of kids and mommies and, eventually, an entire class of preschoolers or kindergarteners (which was our, and all the other moms of toddlers, cue to leave). I love how large this playground is, with several benches and picnic tables, plus there are plenty of tall trees for shade, and the ground is covered with soft, spongy pine needles. The pine needles remind me of home, especially now during autumn.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

We want to give our sincere thanks to all the men and women who have left their homes and families to fight for our country and our freedom. We are truly grateful.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Day in the Life of Squiggles: New Home Edition

I think I have a lead on what the problem is with our camera. Thankfully, it looks like a problem that Canon will fix free of charge. It's killing me not to be snapping 20 pictures a day of my little guy! In the meantime, please enjoy some of Squiggles' photos of the world through his eyes (literally - he took these pictures by himself!):

He likes to start his day out with a little reading;

then we wander around the house looking for things to get into,

then we get dressed,

maybe climb a few things,

and he always makes time to play.

I hope you enjoyed your day, too!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hibocce!'s nice to visit my folks (and I'm so glad I got to see my sister - it's really sucked being so far away from her for the last few years), but it's so nice to be sitting in my recliner at home, too. Oh, yeah, and I missed Brian!

We did jam a lot of fun in before we left, though: coffee and breakfast out, then back to the house to get ready, and then we went and played bocce ball (my sister's boyfriend had never played before, can you imagine?). We even set up a court with a second set of balls so Squiggles would have his own to play with. It's funny to think that just about a year ago, we were at the same bocce courts with our little Squiggles. Of course, this is what he looked like then:

Now he's running around everywhere! His forehead looks much better today, too; little to no bruising, but there were some deep scratches that will take some time to heal. He'll probably still have the mark when we go to get our holiday pictures taken next weekend. Oh, well, it'll add some character for our little bruiser!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sandcastles in the Sand

Anyone else watch How I Met Your Mother? Funny stuff.

So we did not go to the winery today. Squiggles is still not doing great, but he is doing better than yesterday, thank goodness. And we still had a nice day: my sister and her boyfriend came just before lunch, so we all got to spend the afternoon and evening hanging out and having fun. After lunch, everyone else went on a long golf cart tour of the reservation while I stayed behind and the baby napped (I made buckeye bars and caught a little cat nap that just served to make me more tired than before, which is weird). Then we all went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. It was pretty good, but Squiggles took a header on the pavement outside while we were waiting for a table, so I spent most of the meal paying attention to him (thankfully, my mom helped a lot). We kept dabbing ice on his forehead throughout the evening, and the goose egg that was threatening to pop out never got a chance. He'll be fine - little boys have thick skulls!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Well, poop. Literally.

I shouldn't have spoken so soon yesterday about bad things to come this weekend. Yup, you guessed it, it looks like we won't be going to the winery again. All I have to say is that somebody better be taking me to a winery pretty soon! I'm kidding. Well, not really.

Squiggles eating his first lemon wedge - stolen from my salad plate - while we were at Myrtle Beach back in September.

Why aren't we going to the winery? Squiggles is a little sick. Actually, I don't think he's sick; I think he's teething. I can see the front tip of a top bicuspid coming through, and I'm almost sure there are more where that came from. The poor guy is chewing on anything and everything he can (especially his fingers and toes), drooling like crazy, and, yes, blowing out some diapers (sorry if that's TMI!). I feel so sorry for the guy, and I certainly don't want to take him far from home. So we'll probably just stick close to the house, and maybe go to the square tomorrow night and dance. Oh, he's getting to be such a cute little dancer! He kind of hops and prances around and turns in circles. Maybe we'll get some video with my parents' cool new Flip video camera. Have you seen these before? It's so cute and easy to use - you just plug the camera into a USB port and you can upload it or edit it. Very cool - and, if you need a Christmas idea, I'd love to get one of these designable minos (hint, hint)! *End product plug*

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Greetings from the reservation!

Squiggles and I drove down to the reservation to visit with my parents for a few days while Brian works most of the weekend. And, since Tuesday is Veterans Day, my sister has a long weekend and is coming to visit, too. Yay! We're going for winery visit attempt #2 - they have their holiday open house this weekend with crafts and music and wine, I hope. We tried to go last month when they had 50's and 60's music and a classic car show, but it didn't work out. Brian was originally supposed to come with us this time, but he had to be at work for a VIP wedding. I hope that's not a sign of bad things for this weekend!

Anyway, as a follow-up to my car insurance adventure, that stinky gecko raised our premiums $190 per year over what they had originally quoted us! Grrr...I guess it had to do with our driving records. Mine is clean, but Brian has a couple blips on his (nothing serious, not to worry, just speeding and the like which we are all guilty of). However, I have a feeling that the main reason our premiums went up so much is because of that jerk wad who totaled our PT Cruiser back in April. You say you don't know about the jerk was who totaled our PT Cruiser? Long story short, we dropped the Cruiser off with this guy who did some part-time catering work for Brian when he wasn't doing his day job as a mechanic. Well, he *said* he was a mechanic, anyway. Brian said he trusted this guy, so of course I did, too. Unfortunately, we found out the hard way that we should NOT have trusted this guy. He took our car out for a drunken joy ride, ran it off the highway, hit the guardrail and some trees, then fled the scene. No kidding. The highway patrol called us (late) that night to inform us that our car was being towed. We had to total it with the insurance company. It was somewhat of a blessing in disguise, though, because the Cruiser wasn't that great of a car for us. In fact, we always joked that "if there was a way to total the Cruiser without anyone getting hurt..." Ha ha ha. It happened. Be careful what you wish for! We're really happy with the Accord we have now, though. Unfortunately, I have a sinking feeling that it's also the reason our insurance premiums went up. Jerk wad.

(The picture above is of a happier car little Alero hit 100K miles back in September!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I found a geico in the backyard!

Ugh. I've spent the day doing some administrative work - changing our address with the last few billers, enrolling in health insurance for next year, and getting new car insurance. That was the real energy-drainer. We've always dealt with a local agency, but now that we're in Florida, we've been forced to switch companies. After much research, we ended up going with Geico because they had the cheapest rates and, well, I'm kinda cheap. It was just all a pain in the butt to get done. So instead of a well-thought out post, here is just a cute picture of Squiggles at Myrtle Beach.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today was not a beach day

Happy election day, everyone! I hope you all went out and voted - Brian and I mailed our absentee ballots in last week since we haven't switched our voter registration from Ohio to Florida.

Today was kind of a gray day here in sunny Florida. It reminded me of home though, which was kind of nice. Who knew I'd miss gray fall weather? Anyway, the day was pretty uneventful; however, Brian did have the day off, which was nice. We had planned to go on a picnic at the beach today, but instead Squiggles and I went to a very fun class at the YMCA - a mom/baby dance class. We played baby soccer, danced to some fun kid songs, and even had some free play time at the end. It was a great way for Squiggles to socialize with some other kids, and the fact that I worked up a little sheen was just a bonus. Then we drove down to the Carters outlet in St. Augustine after naptime and picked up some new clothes for the little guy - he's woefully short in the pants and long sleeves department.

SO...the gray weather...the postponed beach reminded me of the first time we took Squiggles to the beach here. Now, technically, his first visit to the beach was last year when we came to Florida to visit my family over Thanksgiving. However, Squiggles was only six months old, so I'm not sure what all he took away from that experience.

This time, we had a walking, very curious toddler to take to the beach. He was a little hesitant at first, but he seemed to love the feel of the sand between his toes. Then he was curious about the water, and the waves breaking on the shore. Of course, this led to him being knocked down by one! He recovered like a champ, and from then on, he was all about the beach. In fact, we had a hard time tearing him away when it was time to go home; he flung himself down on the sand and had a little meltdown. As soon as we got him changed into fresh clothes and into the car, though...well...I'll let the picture speak for itself.

I'm glad he likes the beach so much - it's only a 10-15 drive from where we're living now. Brian and I both find it so strange that Squiggles will (likely) grow up thinking that going to the beach is no big deal; while we both saw going to the beach as a once-a-year vacation treat. Crazy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Moving day (night)

We decided to make the big drive from Ohio to Florida in the still of night. Hard on us? Yes. Easy on Squiggles? Yes! We left at bedtime, and he slept like a champ for almost the entire drive. There was an hour around 3am where he was awake, but he just stared out the window and eventually fell back asleep again. It kind of sucked for Brian and me (well, mostly Brian, who drove all the way through to almost the Georgia border by himself, only stopping for gas...unfortunately, he accomplished this by getting hopped up on energy drinks and then couldn't fall asleep even though he wanted to), but it was so worth it to keep Squiggles on some semblance of his schedule.

We took it easy the day we arrived (Labor Day), but I think everyone adjusted pretty well to the temporary apartment that Brian's company had put him up in.

Squiggles didn't waste any time finding a fun place to hide and play. It just happened to be a kitchen cabinet. The dogs made themselves comfortable, too:

Oh, and Squiggles really helped out while we made the transition:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Just waiting around

Bad news. Our digital camera is on the fritz again. We had some problems with it last year, and Canon was very quick about fixing it, so I hope they can help us out again. If not, we'll be limited to cell phone or (horror!) traditional film pictures until we can get a new digital camera.

So, since new pictures will be few and far between, I figured I'd update you all on what we've been doing since the big move. But not tonight. I'm sleepy and I have some more photo organizing to do.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

One year later

How sad is it that it's been almost a year since I've updated this blog? Very, very sad. Of course, a lot can happen in a year...lose your job, become a stay-at-home mom, celebrate a first birthday, move to Florida. I'm using NaBloPoMo to jump-start and restart blogging. Especially now that there are more of you who won't be seeing Squiggles with any regularity.